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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 555

Carbon Pricing

Mr WILLIAMS (Hindmarsh) (14:35): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. I refer the minister to the statement of the managing director of Adelaide Brighton, Mr Mark Chellew, who said:

The removal of the carbon tax by 1 July 2014 could provide an after tax benefit of circa $2 million compared to 2013 ...

However there is political uncertainty around the repeal process—

What is that political uncertainty Mr Chellew refers to, and how could that be removed?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for the Environment) (14:36): I note that the member for Hindmarsh asks about political uncertainty. He asks where political uncertainty is. The political uncertainty has turned its back on the Australian people. The political uncertainty is sitting in that seat, and the political uncertainty caused by the Leader of the Opposition is an industrial go-slow in the Senate. The Leader of the Opposition has called his senators out on an industrial go-slow. Our senators are ready to vote. They are ready to repeal the carbon tax. They are ready to get on with the business of giving Australians lower electricity prices. But, since December, we have had an industrial go-slow in the Senate. This is a throwback to the fifties from a throwback to the fifties! Right now, the Leader of the Opposition, if he wants to be a very modern man, can do something very simple, and that is to send his senators back to work, get them back to the job so that they actually vote on legislation.

The member for Hindmarsh asks about the costs of the carbon tax. As the Prime Minister said, only a week ago the Clean Energy Regulator confirmed a multibillion dollar hit in the first year—a $4.1 billion hit to electricity bills. I just want to repeat that: $4.1 billion of electricity bills whilst this Leader of the Opposition sits there with his arms crossed and his senators on strike. But, more than that, it is $1.1 billion on manufacturing alone. So at the very moment that the Leader of the Opposition feigns this concern about the jobs of manufacturing workers, he is standing in the way of $1.1 billion in tax relief by removal of the carbon tax for Australia's manufacturing firms and Australia's manufacturing workers. Adelaide Brighton has a gross carbon tax of $62 million, Boral cement has $41 million and Cement Australia has $53 million. And what does the cement industry say? The Cement Industry Federation and the National Lime Association of Australia say that they support the carbon tax repeal legislation and request that the Australian parliament pass the bills well in advance of July 2014.

Whilst you opposite are sitting on your hands, we have issued a ministerial determination to axe the carbon tax auctions before 30 June. This is your chance, I say to the opposition, to stand up and allow those auctions to be repealed. The determination is in place, the auctions are off and only a disallowance formed by a reunited Greens and Labor alliance can get in the way of them. So we say to you: 'Get out of the way and let us repeal the carbon tax.'